Pitt and Tennessee formally announced a home and home football series set to begin in 2021. The Panthers will travel to Tennessee's Neyland Stadium on September 11, 2021 and the Volunteers will make the return trip to Heinz Field on September 10, 2022.
Pitt leads the all-time series with the Volunteers with a 2-0 record, as both wins for Pitt came in the early 1980's. The history between the two schools extends beyond the field, as they share a legendary former head coach. Johnny Majors led Pitt to the national championship in 1976, and bolted for Tennessee shortly after, and coached the Volunteers for the next 16 seasons. Majors returned to Pitt in 1993 to close out his career. Overall he coached 24 seasons between the two programs.
Tennessee is one of the more prestigious programs in college football history. The Volunteers rank 11th all-time in wins, and the program claims six national championships, with their most recent one coming in 1998. Neyland Stadium is one of the nation's largest stadiums, and holds over 100,000 fans. Despite all the success and tradition, Tennessee has been downright mediocre for the past few years, with only two winning seasons since 2007.
Pitt shares many similarities, in that, they are a program with a storied past and a rough recent history. If you think about all of those factors, it really does not matter. This series is so far off, it is hard to predict what either program will look like by 2021, in fact, it is hard to predict what college football will look like by then. Obviously on the surface, playing a home and home with a program like Tennessee from the SEC is a nice decision.
The school makes this announcement without an athletic director, and that makes things somewhat interesting. Pitt's future non-conference schedules has been long debated, and many still want to see games with Penn State and West Virginia as priorities. I think when an actual athletic director in place those talks will become a little more serious, but for now adding a series with Tennessee is a nice move.